Costa Rica News – I bet you are wondering what it’s like to teach English in Costa Rica. You like the idea of living in another culture for a while and are thinking about how to find a job and if it’s for you. I can tell you from personal experience.
First, you must be in the country to get a job teaching English (or any job). Any company you find on Craigslist that promises you a job while you are not yet here is probably a scam. Even if they are planning to really hire you, something will get in the way and you will find yourself here jobless. Every foreign worker I have met in the past 2 years had to come here before becoming employed. That being said, save up enough money to survive for a month or two while you job hunt.
There are a few options when teaching English here. The most popular choice is to teach business English, that is to professional adults. Companies that hire for these positions require that you have a certification to teach English as a second language. Some require work permits or promise to help you get a work permit after a few months. If there is any requirement listed that you don’t meet I’d suggest to apply anyway. Some say you need a work permit but when you call them they will say it’s not actually necessary. It is nearly impossible to get a work permit.
Another choice is to teach at an elementary or homeschool where you will teach multiple subjects such as math and science but teaching only in English. Teaching business English you will make about $8 per hour but only have about 25 hours per week. In an elementary school you will work a full day (maybe 8-3) for $800 per month or so. Another option which is new is to teach online with Open English. They are the only option that requires you speak at least some Spanish. The risk with this one is that the internet here is not stable (with any company) so you may have to cancel some classes.
Three schools I’d recommend looking into are Inlingua, Centro Cultural, and Politecnico. Centro Cultural offers more hours and thus more pay than most schools. You will still need to get around to many locations to teach at various businesses or schools but you will be a full time worker with a sponsored work permit. Politecnico offers help in paying for a certification course which you can complete while working. And lastly, Inlingua is known for having completely planned lessons with which you just show up without planning anything.
The main things you should know about teaching English in Costa Rica are that you don’t need a work permit even if ads say you do, you must be here to get and stay hired, you do in most cases need a certification (except in elementary schools), you will make enough to survive but not much more, and you will have a variety of business English schools and a few elementary, homeschool, and online schools and to choose from.
Teaching English is a great way to see different parts of Costa Rica but if you are looking to support a family of save a lot of money this is not the career path for you.